John Wick (game designer)

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John Wick

John Wick is an American role-playing game designer best known for his creative contributions to the tabletop role playing games Legend of the Five Rings and 7th Sea. He self-published Orkworld under the Wicked Press banner, and later co-founded the Wicked Dead Brewing Company with Jared Sorensen. His games under that company include Cat, Schauermärchen, Enemy Gods, and Thirty. He has won the Origins Award for Best Role-Playing Game and Best Collectible Card Game twice (for both the Legend of the Five Rings and 7th Sea role-playing games and collectible card games).

He has also written for White Wolf, Inc., Pinnacle Entertainment Group, and worked for various video game companies, providing storyline and dialogue. He has written two regular on-line columns: The Game Designer's Journal[1] (for The Gaming Outpost) and Play Dirty (for Pyramid Magazine).

Legend of the Five Rings[edit]

In 1995, Wick was a freelance writer living in Southern California. He had submitted articles to Shadis Magazine, Alderac Entertainment Group's independent game magazine, attracting the attention of the magazine's assistant editor, D.J. Trindle. He was brought on as a staff writer at D.J.'s request.[citation needed] Soon after joining AEG, he got involved with the production and design of the Legend of the Five Rings Collectible Card Game, along with the rest of the company.[2]:263 He worked with Matthew D. Wilson, the game's art director and David Williams, the game's lead designer. He served as "Continuity Editor", which meant that he was responsible for the game's characters and plot details.

Wick served as L5R's Continuity Editor for the Emerald Edition, Obsidian Edition, and Jade Edition sets, including the Shadowlands, Forbidden Knowledge, Anvil of Despair, Crimson & Jade, and Time of the Void expansions. He was also the primary source for storyline, flavor text and character for The Scorpion Coup set.

Wick also led the RPG design team that created the Legend of the Five Rings Roleplaying Game (1997).[2]:264

Wick left the L5R design team shortly thereafter to work on AEG's forthcoming 7th Sea project.

7th Sea[edit]

7th Sea (1998) was the second RPG published by AEG, co-designed by John and Jennifer Wick, and Kevin Wilson.[2]:264 7th Sea is AEG's swashbuckling setting. Initially proposed by Wick and his wife Jennifer, the game was intended to be self-contained, but quickly evolved into a much larger project. Telling the story of the world of Théah, a fantasy amalgam of Restoration Age Europe, 7th Sea included pirates, musketeers, explorers and magic.

Wick wrote and developed much of the project, including the 7th Sea Players Guide, Game Masters Guide, Avalon Sourcebook, GM screen, and Knights of the Rose and Cross sourcebook. He left AEG after his work on the Avalon Sourcebook was finished.

On November 3, 2015, AEG announced that it had sold the rights to the 7th Sea property back to Wick, and entered a partnership with him to publish certain licensed games using the property.

On April 2, 2019, Chaosium announced on their official blog their acquisition of the rights to the 7th Sea product line from John Wick.[3]


After leaving AEG, he acquired a position at Totally Games, helping develop an Xbox launch title.[citation needed] He also wrote, designed and developed Orkworld,[2]:407 a reverse-fantasy game where orks are the heroes and the "monsters" are humans, dwarves, and elves. The game was released the same year as Dungeons and Dragons 3rd Edition and garnered an Origins Award nomination for Best Game Fiction.

The game was illustrated by Thomas Denmark.


After spending time in San Francisco, he returned to Los Angeles and began working at Neopets, writing stories for the Neopedia. He also helped develop the Neopets CCG.

Upper Deck[edit]

Wick was also a major contributor to the award-winning Vs. System CCG (Marvel TCG and DC Comics TCG) published by The Upper Deck Company.

The Wicked Dead Brewing Company[edit]

Wick began a new publishing venture with his friend Jared Sorensen.[2]:430 Calling their joint venture the Wicked Dead Brewing Company (based on Wick's previous publishing venture Wicked Press and Sorenson's Memento Mori Theatricks), they began in 2004 and have published over a dozen roleplaying games, board games, and books. He self-published a novel titled No Loyal Knight through the Wicked Dead Brewing Company.

Wick published a number of dice-pool-based indie fantasy games, including Enemy Gods (2004) and Cat (2006).[2]:430

John Wick Presents[edit]

Wick started a new company—John Wick Presents—in 2009 when he kicked off his partnership with Cubicle 7 by reissuing his 2008 RPG Houses of the Blooded.[2]:430 He also released Curse of the Yellow Sign and Blood & Honor through this company.

Houses of the Blooded[edit]

In 2007, Wick announced a return to "big game design" in his LiveJournal. The game, called Houses of the Blooded, was released at the 2008 Origins Game Fair. The game focuses on "the ven" (a race of magically created humanoids) and the world of Shanri (both of which have showed up in a previous game, Enemy Gods).

The pre-order for the limited edition version of Houses of the Blooded sold out in exactly one week. There were 100 copies available on the Indie Press Revolution website on May 5, 2008 and they were all gone by May 12. Wick was apparently surprised by this turn of events. [1]

Wick released a soundtrack with the new game, focusing on "ven blood opera," an in-game element. Songs from the opera can be heard on the Houses of the Blooded website.

Wick is keeping an open log of his design of this game in his LiveJournal. [2] He has stated his intention to release several stand alone supplements that will detail various aspects of the world of Shanri. Each book would allow players to play a different role in Shanri and, as he stated in his livejournal, "almost feel as if they're playing a different game." The books mentioned so far are a 'Slumming' book where players play ven nobles from cities (as opposed to 'country' ven detailed in the main book), a Wilderness book where vassals of the ven nobles fight off ork, explore dungeons, and possibly kill dragons, as well as a Suaven book where details regarding the Ancestor worship religion of the ven will be revealed.

Wick teamed up with British games publisher Cubicle 7 Entertainment for a mass market release of the game in September 2009.


In November 2005, Wick became a Freemason, joining Liberal Arts Lodge of Los Angeles, California.[citation needed] He is a Master Mason.[4]

The Awful Lot[edit]

Wick was a founding member and the drummer for the band The Awful Lot.


Legend of the Five Rings Roleplaying Game (Author and Lead Designer)

1997 Origins Award Best Roleplaying Game[5]

1997 RPGA Gamer's Choice Award Best Roleplaying Game

Legend of the Five Rings Collectible Card Game (Design Team and Story Editor)

1996 Origins Award Best Collectible Card Game (Battle at Beiden Pass)[6]

1997 Origins Award Best Collectible Card Game Expansion (Time of the Void)[5]

7th Sea Roleplaying Game (Creator, Co-Author, Lead Designer)

1999 Origins Award Best Roleplaying Game[7]

7th Sea Collectible Card Game (Co-Creator, Design Team, Story Editor)

1999 Origins Award Best Collectible Card Game[7]

Orkworld (Author and Designer)

2000 Best Game Fiction (How Bashthraka Lost His Spear) (nominated)


  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-09-29. Retrieved 2007-09-01.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Shannon Appelcline (2011). Designers & Dragons. Mongoose Publishing. ISBN 978-1-907702-58-7.
  3. ^ O'Brien, Michael (2 April 2019). "John Wick joins Chaosium". Chaosium press release. Retrieved 3 April 2019.
  4. ^ Wick, John (2007). "Wiz-War". In Lowder, James (ed.). Hobby Games: The 100 Best. Green Ronin Publishing. pp. 369–371. ISBN 978-1-932442-96-0.
  5. ^ a b "Origins Awards Winners 1997" (PDF). Origins Awards. Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts & Design. Retrieved 4 October 2020.
  6. ^ "Origins Awards Winners 1997" (PDF). Origins Awards. Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts & Design. Retrieved 4 October 2020.
  7. ^ a b "Origins Awards Winners 1997" (PDF). Origins Awards. Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts & Design. Retrieved 4 October 2020.

External links[edit]

Personal sites[edit]

Commercial and professional sites[edit]